About CSci

  • Eric Martindale
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Eric Martindale
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
First Degree: 
No degree
Compliance Manager - Microbiology
Works For: 
Glasgow Royal Infirmary
Pet Hates: 
Litter & Negative people
Burning Ambition: 
To referee the world cup final in South Africa
I was always a fan of FLASH the DC comic book hero. Speed is so important these days however accuracy is everything
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Something physical, PE teacher, footballer
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
First aid course in the Boys Brigade and having an inquisitive mind
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
You never know what you will encounter each day. The bugs (microbes) don’t read text books and so don’t behave as they are meant to … ever evolving!
What would you change? 
The perception that some staff groups are less important than others in the lab. I hate to hear “I’m only a …” Everyone has such a critical role to play if systems & processes are to function properly and optimally
What qualifications did you take at school? 
Passed 5 Highers at school when we only needed 3 O grades for entry, then attended 4 years of day- release College. Once formal study was over I researched “Bubonic Plague in Medieval Britain” and presented lectures on this around the UK
Why did you choose your first degree subject? 
No degree
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
FIBMS, years of experience and continuing CPD was accepted. I’m now on my 6th IBMS CPD diploma
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
If I say I’m in the NHS I usually get “are you a doctor or a nurse?” It is far more interesting when I can say I’m involved in the ***** outbreak!
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
It is nearly always news worthy and it is said that approximately 70% of all diagnoses are lab based
What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future? 
More rapid (accurate) diagnosis to lead to shorter hospital stay or indeed reduce the need for hospitalization
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
Solving a reason for an error, finding a root cause. A display of satisfaction from service users
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
From my earliest task of collecting sheep blood fresh from the abattoir (culture media was made from first principles then from agar weed, ox hearts, egg yolks etc) through hard work, application and successful interviews (over 38yrs) I’ve come through the ranks of the biomedical scientists to a senior managerial position and we now acquire ready to use culture media commercially (but at least I know how they make it!)
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
It could be as I’m more involved with “compliance” (meeting standards of performance, health & safety, waste disposal, security etc) which crosses all disciplines
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
BMS scales are public knowledge and following a recent major pay structure review they range from approx £20k to £60k with the majority of staff around £35k. There are opportunities for overtime etc
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
It will still be needed and it is always changing … that is science for you
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
The never ending strange isolate … always something of interest and that I still get a kick out of it I suppose
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
Founder member and chair of the Scottish Microbiology Discussion Group. Domestically, leading a team of 4 and responsible for the Quality Management System for 13 Microbiology labs in the largest health authority in UK (Greater Glasgow & Clyde) where all these labs have achieved and maintained CPA accreditation
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
Yes I’ve a good standard of living but I would have to be honest and say I probably overdo the work a bit … but only because I enjoy it so much
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
I think they see it as interesting … then ask me to wash my hands again!
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
I was a top grade football referee (recently retired) and officiated at all Scottish grounds … and a number of European one’s including the Bernabeau (Real Madrid). I still enjoy keep fit and gardening when the weather allows. Genealogy (family tree study) is compulsive and I enjoy helping with other people’s trees
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
Having the ultimate professional recognition
What is the value of professional bodies? 
Maintain standards and represent the member in a complementary way with the Unions
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
I believe it is fundamental to show currency. The HPC requirement for CPD was rightly a wake up call for many
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Keep asking “what if?” also “keep it simple & less is more”. Often things are unnecessarily complex or complicated resulting in confusion and ultimately errors. You must always consider the human factor. This has been a useful philosophy for me and seems to have worked to date
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
Very important. I went into quality management when the term was unheard of and learned the hard way! I now read books by quality gurus and fortunately my sentiments concur with theirs
How would you define “professionalism”? 
Demonstrated application of knowledge and skills (yes that’s competence) but I would add willingness to go the extra mile
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
I would question methods and processes more … but I may have been seen as a trouble maker in those days. I now encourage all staff to constantly review what they are doing. The worst thing we can hear is “I don’t know why I’m doing this … I’ve just always done it this way”
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
Open- minded, always willing to challenge the norm. Enthusiastic and helpful
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